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thinkfreemind
12:24 AM on 06.02.2009

I watched the Ubisoft Press Conference tonight on G4, and I couldn't have been more bored in my entire life. The first hour of the agony was a bunch of crap like Shawn White, soccer, and a half-hour of speeches about how Ubisoft is teaming up with movie studios (like for the game/film Avatar), blah blah blah... After all that crap they talked about even bigger crap, chest-thumping about the sales of the Petz and Imagine series of tween games. Then they showed off some crappy jewelry making and clip art games; it was torture. As if all that wasn't crappy enough, they then talked about their new fitness game for the Wii, to a crowd of overwieght game journalists. WTF!?!

Finally they got around to using the last twenty minutes or so to show off the games people care about, and even then not with 1/10th of the information they bored us with about all the rest of that mess they wasted breath talking about. They showed the new Rabbids game and some video from that for a little bit, then they showed the same Splinter Cell stuff seen in Microsoft's presentation earlier in the day, followed by the Assassin's Creed trailer I'd seen earlier on Youtube. And that was it, all the goodies stuffed into just the last twenty minutes. Everyone who was watching ends up pissed off for wasting those two hours of our lives (it's true, I checked Kotaku and everyone else has the exact same impression of this event that I do), and the icing on the cake...

They didn't even mention anything about Ghost Recon 4!

p.s. Also, the host was corny and kept bashing Ryan Seacrest the entire time, which makes him the biggest douche of the show this year. Nintendo could let Cammy do the entire presentation tomorrow and even she couldn't be as terrible. It sucked.
__________

I didn't see the EA show, because I don't really care for EA that much. They have a few games I'm looking forward to, like Brutal Legend and such, but I figured it would be about the same old' EA Sports crap like usual. Microsoft didn't wow me really, but they showed off some cool stuff for sure. My biggest problem with their presentation was the way they kept talking about how "Xbox is the best at this, and Xbox is so wonderful at that", which I don't like very much at all. Matter of fact, very slowly over the course of this generation so far, I'm starting to hate what Xbox has become, especially XBL.

Microsoft never updates the store, which means they are still charging 50 points for three year old gamer pictures that can't really even be used anymore. Launch titles still have DLC that they want people to pay money for all this time later, I mean, can't they ever make it free? Not to mention that I absolutely hate the NXE. I thought I'd be able to adjust to it, but I still see it as being bombarded with ads on a service that I'm paying for, which isn't right. Even if they aren't really ads per se, most of the things on the dash taking up space are to tell me of crappy features that I have no interest in; like telling me when I can play with the Frag Dolls, as if I give a damn.

I have to scroll though a bunch of this junk just to get from my main bar of information to the friends list, which are pretty much the only two categories I look at. Something else that pisses me off is that in the video category, Netflix isn't the first box I see. Oh no, I have to move one space to the right, past the Microsoft PPV advertisement. AGGHHH!!!

So you see DCL, I have issues with Microsoft right now and this is why I so desperately want Sony to wow me already. Sony needs to come up with some exclusives so awesome that I'm ready to make it my default system for multiplatform gaming. I want it to happen, I've made the investment in the console, so I'm tired of feeling disappointed.

As for Project NATAL...









I should start with a bit of history first. Over the last seven years or so, I have tried to play this game three times before. Each time, I either quit out of boredom or frustration with how the game lacks a good core, yet has a bunch of extra crap that is missable (like a blitzball game that's dang near impossible to win, or dodging lightening bolts, etc.). However, I seem to be a masochist as I keep coming back to this game time and time again, and right now is no exception. I am determined to finish this game though, because until I do, I somehow feel like I'm letting myself down. Like the Little Engine That Could, I'm going to do this thing!



So I am now once again 10 hours into the game, after playing for a couple of afternoons, and the game is once again boring as all heck. The story is decent enough I suppose, but the action is lacking. Talk talk talk talk talk, that's all these characters do! Oh, and don't even get me started on that laughing for no reason junk, though to be fair FFX is not the only JRPG offender to waste time like that.



Anyways... Despite being bored again, I fully intend to finish the game this time. I'm not going to let the little things bother me. I'm going to put my head down and plow through this game until I reach the end! Wish me luck.

p.s. I've been on a book buying spree lately, mostly just the classics though. I'm not interested in anything that's been written in the last, eh, 40 years or so. If you guys have any book recommendations, feel free to mention them. Thanks.

p.p.s. Please don't be upset that I had some fun in that sheep contest. It was just a joke and there was no harm done. ^_^








Much has changed in the last eight months. My collection just keeps growing and growing...






























Notes:
* In the Hot Fries boxes are old NES, Genesis, SNES, and N64 games.
* Systems on top shelf are (in order): GG, N64, SNES, Gen, Nes, GCN, and DC. Lots of boxes and other stuff up there too.
* Not pictured is a box of strategy guides and other small gaming collectibles, which I had removed from the closet before taking pictures.








The title of this blog post is a question a buddy of mine just brought up at a forum I go to. I think this is a great question, so I wanted to pass on this conversation and see what you all have to say about this issue as well. His question and my response are as follows...

Question: Original Post

When did playing video games require prerequisites?

I don't mean that in a bad way or anything, but I was milling about over at PSU a while and *everyone* there seems to be a knowledge base of which publisher made what, which developer is working on what, what genre is more popular here or there, etc.

Man, when I got into gaming, it was just all about playing, but today, it almost seems that playing video games comes with an asterisk - "before you can discuss, you must know (place qualifier here).

Do they mandate video game "faq" courses in HS or something?

Answer: My Response

When game companies started making nothing but sequels.

The reason you can't discuss one game without talking about another is because every game is a sequel these days. Sequels create fanboys and it's the fanboys who like to act superior to the new fans of "Game3" just because they played "Game1" and "Game2" also.

You don't see this kind of crap in discussions of original IP's. If you do it's just because some fanboys might try to act superior for having played another game made by the same developer, but that doesn't happen often.

Go to a place like the Atlus forums and take a look at how new fans are treated over there by the long time members. If they make a thread about an older game, the response they get is "welcome to five years ago". This is not a good way to bring new members and fans into the fold and it could turn them off of that forum or other games by the same company. It's not right and there is no excuse for it.

Fanboys are rabid though, they get off on knowing more than you. Who do you blame though? Do you blame the game companies for creating the fanboys, or, do you blame the fanboys for the lack of innovation shown by game companies creating what they know is safe and will sell, thus creating even more fanboys?

It's a pickle I tell you and its bitter taste is growing old.


So... What do you guys think? Have any other takes on the question posed?








In my last blog post, I mentioned that I was going to see the Smashing Pumpkins on Saturday. Well, I went and it was freaking amazing! The Smashing Pumpkins ******* ROCKED!!!!

This show had to be the loudest concert I've ever been to. Trust me when I say that is really saying something! Seriously, I couldn't hear anything until Sunday night. The band rocked and you could tell that they were really having fun (or at least I could because I was like six feet in front of Billy the entire show). The way they mashed together songs like "Transformer", "SuperChrist", and "United States" was kick ass. By the time "Heavy Metal Machine" and "Glass Theme" came around, a bunch of us were going nuts! With only three of their mega-hits on the set list though, this was a show for the super-fans and not the casual SP listener.



The only problem with the show was that it didn't start on time. It was supposed to start at 7pm, but they didn't hit the stage until around 8:15. I suppose that they were waiting for the sun to go down, but what that means is that I was standing in one spot for over two hours with nothing happening. People were starting to get pissed, and it was hotter than hades, but when the band finally did hit the stage all of that was instantly forgiven.

Overall, I have to say the Smashing Pumpkins proved to me (and then some) that they are the best rock band in the world today. If you ever get the chance to see them, please do, you won't regret it.

"Heavy Metal Machine" => "Glass Theme" (must listen)


p.s. The fact that I've been a fan of SP (17 yrs) longer than some of the people at the show have even been alive, was a trip. I certainly wasn't the only one, there was a good mix of young people and us older (27 is old in case you didn't know) fans. Billy took note of this also and made some funny comments on the state of the crowd.








It's been a little while, so this post will be a mash-up of random stuff...

Of Bioshock
Sure it's a year late, but this game was great!

I want to say right now that had I made it to Andrew Ryan the first two times I had started this game in the past, I know I wouldn't have quit playing (something I really struggle with when it comes to games). Perhaps that was the problem; it just took a bit too long to get to that point. Once I met Ryan, the game got seriously good and I was hooked. Amazing!

For those that haven't played the game yet because you don't have a 360 (or didn't play it on the PC), you have got to get this game when it hits the PS3. It's not everyday that I tell people a game is a must play, but this is one of them.

The combat was fun with a good mix of shooting and special plasmid attacks and the exploration (while dragging a bit in the beginning maybe) was very cool too. I thought that the story in the game was great (esp. once you meet Ryan) and it is probably the best I've ever seen in a shooter.

Conclusion... I think this game is fantastic!

Of Eternal Sonata
I am now five hours into the game and just reached Chapter 2. So far I am enjoying the game pretty well with no real complaints, but along with several things that I like a lot, there are a couple of things that have sort of gotten under my skin...

Pros:
- The game is very pretty. I love the art style.
- Combat is fun and I find myself seeking out fights even if I don't have to.
- I enjoy the various skills the game gives you to use and I've been trying to make the most of them.
- The soundtrack is excellent.
- I like the story bits mixing with information about Chopin's life, very nice.

Cons:
- The character conversations (story parts) can drag on quite a while, to the point where your controller will shut off due to not pressing any buttons. This has happened a couple times so far and it is lame each time.
- Beat is annoying. I know he's supposed to be 8 yrs. old, but come on... Ugh.

Neutrals:
- The inventory system took me a bit too long to figure out. Probably my fault though.
- The hit points are a bit high aren't they? I'm not used to RPGs where your characters start off with 1000+ HP. It works in the context of the game, but I wish all of the regular battles were as hard as the boss fights. I love a challenge.

All in all, it's good stuff though. I hope to blaze through this game in about a week.

Other Stuff
I am going to see the Smashing Pumpkins in Charlottesville this weekend. They have been one of my favorite bands since I was just a kid and this is the first chance I've ever had to see them live, so I'm pretty excited.

Well! That's all I got to say about stuff for now, have a good weekend.